Posts Tagged ‘Akron Metro RTA’

CVSR Ends Mask Mandate for Passengers

April 19, 2022

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad said on Tuesday that it will no longer require passengers to wear facial masks about trains or at CVSR stations.

The tourist railroad cited a decision by the Transportation Security Administration to no longer enforce the mask mandate, which has been in effect for more than a year for all forms of public transportation.

TSA acted after a federal judge in Florida struck down the mask rule.

In a related development, Akron Metro RTA said it no longer requires passengers to wear masks while riding buses or while inside the agency’s transit hubs.

Officials at Akron-Canton and Cleveland Hopkins airports also said wearing of masks is no longer mandatory while inside the airport terminal. Most airlines also have made mask wearing aboard planes optional.

Greater Cleveland RTA had not announced its mask policy on either its website or Facebook page as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Metro Eyes Service Restructuring

February 14, 2022

A public event on Tuesday will explore ideas for improvements to public transit services in Akron.

Akron Metro RTA has been conducting an online survey asking riders and others to provide suggestions for ways to enhance service.

The survey is part of a campaign Metro has launched called “Reimagine METRO RTA.”

Among the ideas Metro is considering is creation of routes that run more often, ways to streamline and adds trips to Northern Summit County, and creating new connections to Cuyahoga and Portage counties.

Metro released last month a draft of its revamped network and is seeking public comment through March 4.

Officials have said the additional service envisioned by the plan will require hiring additional bus drivers, which the agency is actively seeking to do.

The plan will be the subject of a public open house at the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Akron Metro Workers OK New Contract

February 14, 2022

Union workers at Akron Metro RTA have accepted a new contract offer that will now be voted on by the agency’s board of directors on Wednesday.

Members of the Transport Workers Union of America Local 1 voted 186 to 25 to accept the contract, which will replace a pact that expired on July 31, 2020.

If approved by the Metro board the contract will be retroactive to June 1, 2021, and run through May 31, 2024.

The union represents bus drivers, vehicle maintenance workers and customer service employees. Those make up 74 percent of Metro employees.

Approval by the Metro board is likely given the statements made by the agency’s CEO Dawn Distler who described the new contract as “fair and equitable to the organization, TWU membership, and, most importantly, is a contract that would strongly benefit our passengers.”

Union officials said the contract makes no changes to health insurance coverage, but they expressed some dissatisfaction about wages.

Willie Brown, the director of the international union’s transit division, said about wages, “when it comes to contracts, it’s give and take.”

Strike Against Akron Metro Averted Again

November 14, 2021

A strike by Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority workers on Monday has been postponed.

Members of The Transport Workers Union of America Local 1 had been prepared to walk off the job after failing to reach a new contract agreement.

However, the national leadership of the union called off the strike and placed Local 1 into temporary receivership.

A statement released by the union said Local 1 had not given “appropriate notice required to authorize a strike.”

The national office of the union has sent representatives to Akron to investigate the local and to take over the contract negotiations.

Members of Local 1 have been working without a contract since July 31, 2020.

“Many of our members here in Summit County reached out to the international union concerned that the local union’s president is no longer employed by METRO,” said Willie Brown, director of the national union’s transit division. “The strike authorization vote was administered improperly, and adequate notice was not provided to the international union in violation of the TWU constitution.”

Brown said a strike may be necessary late but there may be other options as well.

Union members had been prepared to strike or begin picketing on Nov. 4. The union later set a strike date of Nov. 15.

Akron Metro Facing Bus Driver Strike

November 4, 2021

Akron Metro RTA bus drivers may walk off the job Nov. 15 after failing to reach a new contract agreement.

The drivers had threatened to strike Nov. 4 if they did not reach a new agreement. However, the public transit agency said Wednesday evening it had been assured by Transport Workers Union Local 1 that there would be no strike or picketing on Thursday.

Contract talks between the two sides have drug on for more than a year.

Metro said has offered the union what it termed a final proposal and asked for a vote on the pact by union members.

Major issues in the negotiations include wages, health insurance and other issues.

TWU represents 71 percent of Metro employees including 239 bus drivers, 17 vehicle service employees, four vehicle detailers and 12 customer care representatives.

Metro has 378 employees including 32 mechanics who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 348.

Members of the TWU approved a strike authorization vote on Sept. 11, which gave union leaders authority to call a strike if they decide one is necessary.

Metro’s fleet included 231 vehicles – 140 large buses and 91 paratransit vehicles – that serve 29 local routes and other services.

Akron Metro Wins FTA Grant

October 10, 2020

Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority has received a $450,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The funding will be used to study the potential economic effects of transit-oriented development on underutilized, publicly-owned or vacant property.

Akron Metro in partnership with the City of Akron will consider if it can provide service that would help to create job and housing opportunities in areas of persistent poverty.

The award was among 35 projects that received $17.6 million in funding.

The Hocking Athens Perry Community Action agency will receive $122,890 to study improved access to health care and other essential services in rural and low-income areas in Athens County.

The project will explore options for expanding Athens Public Transit’s service area and improving scheduling efficiency for better coordination between transit operators.

The agency will partner with CALSTART, a nonprofit organization, to assess scheduling software and analyze fare payment options.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority received two grants.

The Philadelphia-based agency received $742,000 to be used to pay for installation of an automated employee protection system to improve safety for workers doing track work.

SEPTA also received a $495,000 grant to pay for planning and design of an upgrade of transportation infrastructure on the Grays Avenue Corridor.

The agency said the corridor provides critical transportation connections from one of Philadelphia’s poorest communities to Center City jobs, healthcare and other services.

The project will redesign trolley stations to improve accessibility and add safety features such as improved pedestrian crosswalks and traffic controls.

The City of Detroit received $750,000 to improve access to food, transit services and healthcare facilities by identifying gaps in the transportation network in underserved communities.

The study will include a comprehensive survey to understand mobility challenges from the community perspective and assess potential partners for implementation.

Akron Metro Public Views on Strategic Plan

September 28, 2020

Akron Metro RTA will hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to get public views on the transit agency’s 10-year strategic plan.

The meeting can be viewed on Zoom with registration at https://www.akronmetro.org/strategic-plan.aspx.

A recording of the meeting will later be posted on the Akron Metro website.

A summary of the public comments will be presented on Oct. 27 to the Metro board of trustees during its next meeting.

In an unrelated development, Akron Metro has launched a partnership with the Moovit app to allow riders to buy a digital bus pass.

The Moovit app can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices.

Riders must have a smart phone to use the app and will show their pass on their device to a bus driver or have it scanned.

The Moovit app incorporates EZfare ticketing while also showing bus lines and trip times.

After selecting a trip using the app riders will see the fare and be able to purchase an e-ticket. Moovit will display the digital ticket and a unique QR code.

Among the transit agencies in Northeast Ohio using app are PARTA in Portage County, MCPT in Medina County, Laketran in Lake County and SARTA in Stark County.

Passengers can use the services to transfer between lines when possible.

Akron Metro Launches Pilot Program, Giving Library Card Holder Free Rides Once a Month

September 9, 2020

Akron Metro RTA has instituted a pilot program whereby bus riders can schedule pick-up times in Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Tallmadge for the cost of a regular Metro bus fare of $1.25 for a single trip.

The Metro Connect service will be available between 7 a.m. and  5 p.m. on weekdays.

Riders must call 330-376-5353 and will be picked up at a bus stop within the Metro Connect service area, which can be viewed at akronmetro.org.

Riders are encouraged to schedule their reservation at least one business day before travel in order to assure a 15-minute pick-up window.

Metro Connect is a pilot program that agency CEO Dawn Distler said could reshape public transit in Summit County.

“As travel patterns change, we continue to look for innovative solutions to provide more efficient service to the communities we serve,” Distler said.

In another development, Akron Metro has established a partnership with the Akron-Summit County Public Library to provide free rides on the first Thursday of each month.

Library card holders will be able to ride free by showing their card upon boarding a bus.

Up to two children, age 5 or younger, can ride free with an adult with a library card.

The program is not available for transportation on Metro SCAT/Paratransit, Call-A-Bus or NCX services.

Akron Metro RTA to Resume Collecting Fares

June 1, 2020

Starting June 8 riders of Akron Metro RTA will need to begin paying fares again.

Fare collection was suspended shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

Other changes that will become effective on that date include reopening of the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center and the implementation of a summer contingency schedule that includes revised weekday and Saturday service.

Buses will not operate on Sundays.

Some circulator routes will be suspended and/or remain suspended.

These include Route No. 50 Montrose, Route No. 51 Stow, Route No. 53 Portage/Graham and Route No. 59 Chapel Hill, the DASH, Grocery Bus and x60 service to Cleveland.

Metro officials said they are focusing the agency’s resources on high-volume routes.

Metro said it is working with the Summit County Public Health department to establish new safety standards.

Line-up times at the transit center are being changed to allow passengers for more timely and efficient connections.

The Pfaff center will be open 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Window hours will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Akron Metro Passengers Must Wear Masks

April 29, 2020

Starting today (April 29) all passengers riding Akron Metro RTA buses must wear face masks.

The transit agency said the rule, which also affects employees, was made to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Masks are nor required for children under the age of 2.

A similar rule was imposed earlier this month by the Stark County Regional Transit Authority.

The mask rule follows guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people wearing cloth face coverings in public areas where it’s hard to maintain social distancing.